Want to Draw CA Electoral Districts? Now’s Your Chance

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission jumps into it’s second line-drawing exercise with the process to select new commissioners beginning this Friday with a Town Hall at the State Auditor’s office explaining the ins-and-outs of being a commissioner.

In this era of politicized politics, would be commissioners will be those who can set an example of impartiality in drawing boundaries for 53 Congressional Districts, 40 State Senate districts, 80 Assembly districts and four State Board of Equalization districts.California State Auditor Elaine Howle oversees the process of finding the 14 commissioners who will draw district lines—and it’s a mammoth job. Voters created the Citizen’s Commission by passing a ballot measure in 2008. Following the 2010 census 30,000 citizens applied for the commission spots. Howle expects in this era of increased political interest that number will be exceeded this time around.

Why is it the State Auditor’s job to coordinate this effort? Simply, because the initiative measure said so.

“To be honest, when we saw this was on the ballot we were shocked,” Auditor Howle said. No one gave her office a heads up. “Once we were given the responsibility, after we got over the shock, we decided we were going to do this, we were going to prove people we were the right office to do this kind of work.”

Howle was informed by the initiative’s proponents later that the reason her office was picked was because it had a reputation of being independent, non-partisan, and well-respected, and was not going to be influenced by members of the legislature or congress.

“We proved that,” she said.

Howle said there was much skepticism initially on whether the process would work but California’s successful commission ten years ago has served as a model for other states interested in changing the role of legislators drawing their own district lines.

“It is huge for California to be a model” (for other states), Howle said.

While the word goes out with a kick-off this Friday, the application submission period will run 60-days from June 10, 2019 to August 9, 2019. A redistricting website is being set up for submitting applications but for now information information about details on the extensive process of choosing commissioners can be found at the State Auditor’s website.

Ultimately, the commission will consist of five Republicans, five Democrats and four citizens not affiliated with either major political party. A qualified resident must be a registered voter with the same political party, or no political party, for five years immediately prior to being appointed and must have voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections.

Fact sheets on the commission’s responsibilities, the selection process, and more can be found here.

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